Often times there are many aspects of communication that are not leveraged for either the sender or receiver in a conversation. One significant contributor to effective communication is demonstrative communication. Demonstrative communication is perceived as nonverbal and unwritten communication and involves such things as facial expressions, paralinguistic, personal space, touch, and the body language one utilizes. Understanding the effective and ineffective ways to use demonstrative communication can determine the outcome of how communication is perceived.
Facial expressions can determine the tone of the conversation just by an individual’s presence. Think about how much information can be translated just from someone making a frown or smiling during a conversation. Facial expressions often times tell the story of a sender, even without the understanding of the verbal communication. Consider the differences from verbal communication and behavior that can differ largely between cultures, but the facial expressions for joy, sorrow, anger and fear are similar throughout the world. While utilizing these expressions might be an effective tool in understanding the messages from senders and receivers of a conversation, it can also act as a misleading identifier of ones intentions. Prior situations that have changed the current attitude (negative) of the sender or receiver might convey a misrepresentation of their verbal communication through their facial expressions.
Paralinguistic denotes the vocal communication that is separate from actual language (Huntington, 2013). This would include things such as tone of voice, volume, inflection and pitch. Effective tones could be considered strong, clear, and concise. Receivers could interpret this with approval and enthusiasm. This should not be confused with a sender being loud. Overpowering a conversation with a loud tone can have a negative effect to the conversation and loose the attentiveness of the receiver. On the contrary, words expressed in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest. This also should not be confused with talking softly. Often times a lower tone can both cause the receiver to pay closer attention and actually give the conversation soothing qualities.
As part of the study of proxemics, personal space is an important aspect of nonverbal communication. The question is; how much space should we give? In an article from NBC news, the general boundary starts at 8-16 inches from ones face (Main, 2013). In my opinion, I would consider that fairly intimate. I would also consider the relation to the sender/receiver as a benchmark for establishing a personal space for the conversation. Research from the same article expresses that “anxious” people need a larger personal space as well. In either instance, anxious or intimate, personal space needs to be considered from both an affective and ineffective perspective. Affective gauging of personal space ranges from intimate, to personal, to public; increasing in space from one to the next. Ineffective use of personal space can lead to the sender or receiver becoming distracted from the content of the conversation. In the study from NBC on “anxious” peoples personal space, they referenced a tell tail to the need of increased space was a rise in the persons blinking. So if you significant other starts blinking a lot, that’s a queue that there anxious – or you picked the wrong time to be intimate!
Something that is often time over emphasized in nonverbal communication is body language. Although posture and body movement can convey a great deal of information, arm crossing, eye rolling, and defensive or offensive posturing are not always indicative of the sender or receivers true communication. In a business like atmosphere, body language can be very effective. The use of hands, eye contact, and keeping a neutral or attentive posture can be…